While working at a grocery store, I met a handsome guy. I fell in love the first time I saw him, happy in a way I never felt. He said he felt the same.
We saw each other every day. He was in my mind night and day. I thought this much happiness was too good to be true. I gave so much I forgot to keep a little of me to myself.
Because of the past, I didn’t want to mess this one up. I was so in love I didn’t see the many red flags. I was blind and dumb.
One day we met at a park before I went to work. We talked and laughed about everything. He told me he had been separated from his ex-girlfriend for eight months. It was one of the best days of my life.
We moved in together, but right after the move I discovered he had been lying about so many things. It wasn’t months ago he left his girlfriend. He was living with her after we started our relationship.
When I confronted him, he got mad and didn’t answer my questions. I don’t know why he lied to me. I don’t know what I did to him. He would leave the house for days and then return, and I would take him back. Why?
I don’t know. I am so mad at myself for not having the courage, the self-respect, to leave him. Even when I felt my world tumbling down and realized he wasn’t the guy I met, I didn’t let go.
It is hard for me to understand how a person can say they love you, that you are the love of their life, yet lie and hurt you and leave without caring. I never got answers to my questions and I was devastated.
Can I be the person I was before? Did I do something wrong to deserve this?
Abbey, we don’t deserve the rain. We don’t deserve the accidents that happen. We can’t look at what others do as our fault. As you are free to be a good person, so they are free to decide what kind of person they will be.
There is no reason you shouldn’t be the person you were before him, because this is not your fault. But you have learned something. The first time someone treats you like this—lies, disrespects, leaves—don’t take them back. Skip the “repeatedly took him back” step and just move on.
Just as it is not your fault what he did, you must accept that you cannot change who he is. Only he can do that, and he doesn’t find fault in his behavior. So he will not change.
That’s the trap many women need to let go of. It’s me, and he’ll change. What does “it’s me” mean? It means how did I cause him to be like this? You didn’t. It’s not you. You didn’t recognize who he is.
People can’t change who they are in their base nature. They form as they grow up. Who they are is more permanent than a tattoo. Thinking they can change themselves for you weds you to an impossible goal.
Trying to be someone you are not, trying to get someone to be who they are not, is a lifetime of pushing a boulder up a hill. Today you have to do it, tomorrow you have to do it, next year you have to do it.
In the beginning people trick themselves into thinking they can push the rock because they have just started pushing. But after months and years all they can think is, “Why am I pushing this rock?”
That’s the trap. To have what I want today, I start something I cannot sustain. The pusher thinks they are the good one, and they are, though they participated in it.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of October 19, 2015
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